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ICO executes search warrants related to millions of automated nuisance calls

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has searched two addresses in Nottingham as part of an investigation into a network suspected of making hundreds of millions of nuisance calls.

ICO enforcement officers were joined by colleagues from the Claims Management Regulator and Nottinghamshire Police to execute a search warrant at an office building in the city. A house was also searched at the same time.

The operation was part of an ICO investigation into a network of people and associated companies believed to be responsible for bombarding UK citizens with hundreds of millions of unsolicited automated calls promoting personal injury claims.

Computer equipment and documents were seized for analysis and the ICO’s enquiries into alleged breaches of the laws surrounding unsolicited telephone marketing continues.

The Claims Management Regulator, part of the Ministry of Justice, is also investigating potential breaches of the Compensation Act 2006.

Andy Curry, the ICO’s Enforcement Group Manager, said:

“People are sick and tired of receiving nuisance calls. The evidence we had already gathered prior to these warrants suggests this network, operating both in the UK and overseas, is responsible for making hundreds of millions of them.

“We hope the material we have now recovered will help identify other organisations and individuals in a lengthy and complex investigation, and assist the ICO and our partners in taking enforcement action. It will have the added effect of disrupting these people’s activities, which cause so much annoyance and distress to the UK public.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  3. The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  4. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside the Data Protection Act. They give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications. There are specific rules on:
    • marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;
    • keeping communications services secure; and
    • customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings.

      We aim to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. We will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.
  5. Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.
  6. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  7. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.
  8. The Claims Management Regulator is a unit of the Ministry of Justice. It enforces the Compensation Act 2006 and regulates and licences companies offering a service for compensation claimants in areas such as personal injury, mis-sold financial products and services, housing and employment.